RichardsonEvery Thursday, we bring you our pick of the hottest North Texas properties in our CandysDirt.com Open Houses of the Week. These are the places you don’t want to miss that weekend.

This week, our houses range in price from $239,000 to $670,000, and can all be found in Richardson. Which ones will you visit?

Four-Bedroom Traditional in Gated Community

Open house: Saturday, Jan. 12, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

This four-bedroom, four-and-a-half bath home was custom built on a huge lot overlooking a Breckinridge Park, right in the gated community of the Hills of Breckinridge. (more…)

affordableEarlier this week, we mentioned the October housing report from the Texas A&M Real Estate Center, which provided this interesting tidbit: While home sales may be slowing down in the higher price points, the most affordable price points are still doing robust business.

“The market for homes priced less than $200,000 remained the exception, where the MOI held at 2.8 months with constant pressure downward,” the report said. A balanced market, economists say, is closer to six months of inventory.

So for this week’s CandysDirt.com Open Houses of the Week, we thought we’d take a look at this price point, and what you can get for that.

This week, our homes range in price from $155,000 to $200,000. Which ones will you visit? (more…)

WataugaWatauga, a suburb of Fort Worth, is hot. How hot? On average, homes in Watauga sell in 15 days — in fact, Realtor.com recently said that’s three percent faster than last year, and about 50 percent faster than homes in the rest of the country.

So for our inaugural Suburb Sunday, we decided to take a look at three homes in Watauga that provides the affordability of the suburbs but is close enough for its residents to enjoy everything Fort Worth has to offer.

CRISP, CLEAN HOME ON AMBER DRIVE

Address: 7428 Amber Drive
This home Amber Drive was built in 1995, but has recently had a renovation that keeps it current. While the finishes may not be luxury, they are durable and family-friendly, making this three-bathroom, two-bath home a great starter home. (more…)

Founding team at Opendoor

Opendoor, Open Listings, open sesame to way more disruption in the real estate world.

You know about the fast growing, fast-expanding home selling and buying company Opendoor. Launched in the Bay area in 2014, with Dallas as its second focus group city, OpenDoor has raised $645 million in equity financing, has $1.75 billion in debt, and plans to be in 18 markets across the country by year’s end ostensibly to wipe that debt away.

Opendoor takes all that private equity dough and makes instant offers on homes, based on an automated valuation system that determines home prices online, nearly instantly. Homeowners receive a cash offer and can move without the drudgery of selling their homes: no staging, no showings, minor repairs taken out of the equity. The AVM offers are usually lower than what a seller could fetch with a traditional marketing, but they are quicker and time, says Opendoor, is money. Many customers say the Opendoor offer is exactly what they were hoping to sell for. might prefer to pay 6.5 percent or more to Opendoor versus 6% to two agents to unload a home quickly and move on. People choose Opendoor because it gives them convenience and certainty of an offer and price, which gives them confidence to buy their next home. Opendoor also works with a certain price point of home: originally under $600,000 in Dallas/Fort Worth when they launched here, the company is currently only buying properties valued at $300,000 or less in Dallas/Fort Worth (temporarily) because they have so many properties here: 522 on the market.

On Tuesday, September 11, Opendoor made its first acquisition: it bought Open Listings, a discount, technology-based online brokerage with ready-made, in-house real estate agents and partner agents. The Los Angeles-based company launched in San Francisco in 2015 with the slogan, “Shop without an agent. We’ve got your back”. Now in most of California plus Seattle, Chicago, Austin and here in Dallas, the company offers on demand showings with minimal agent interaction, and in-house agents:

“We have different teams of agents that are focused on making the buyer’s experience as smooth as possible at each step, whether it’s researching properties, tracking down answers to specific buyer questions, helping buyers get pre-approved, providing on-demand showings, or fully supporting them from offer negotiations to closing.” 

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And it’s really, really hysterical. Like the voyeuristic lady who rummages through the owner’s closet, touching her dresses. Eww.

Yeah, we know Opendoor is the disruptor direct home buyer who everyone’s talking about and shuddering. And this is NOT DOOR, the Dallas discount brokerage. Opendoor employs Realtors, partners with Realtors, and is one of the largest payers of Realtor’s commissions in the DFW Metroplex this year. And the price range they sell homes from is in $100,000 to $500,000 range so actually, agents are starting to love them a whole lot. 

“Agents are finding that they know exactly what to expect when they work with Opendoor, and we are extremely transparent, ” says Cristin Culver, Head of Local Communications for Opendoor. “Savvy agents use Opendoor as another tool in their toolbox to build their book of business.”

Dallas agents are incredible, says Cristin, and Opendoor is quickly establishing official relationships to partner with more North Texas agents. Maybe this ad will help?

 
 

 

 

Take-away: Opendoor is a tech company with artificial intelligence hard at work behind the scenes, so they are learning in real time from every bit of data input, every listing, every sale

A presentation by Dallas Opendoor was one of the most anticipated presentations at last weeks’ annual RAC (Relocation Appraisers & Consultants) industry conference at the Westin Stonebriar. The RAC is a group of active appraisers, recognized professionals in evaluating complex residential properties for relocation, litigation support, testimony and reviews. Jonathan Miller of Miller Samuel Inc. is current president. They are the folks who banks and individuals rely on before they mortgage a property or move across the country. They are the go-to’s for lawyers disproving an ex-husband’s claim they are penniless (when they own tens of millions in real estate). Founded in 1990, RAC members are the go-to people for complex real estate appraisals in the US and even abroad.

First, it was an introduction and explanation of Opendoor:  Opendoor (OD) buys real estate in the $125,000 to $500,000 price range in a few select markets quickly, rapidly: pack your bags and go. The company uses technology to flip homes and streamline the agent’s role. In fact, Opendoor employs salaried listing agents to market its properties, and forks over a 3 percent commission to buyer’s agents who come through the MLS should they bring a buyer. The company has garnered roughly $320 million in equity from investors, including its biggest shareholder, venture capital giant Khosla Ventures.  The company has raised $575 million in debt. Their ads are all over the Metroplex, aimed at consumers. (more…)

You know what we are talking about: new companies (called “Platforms”)  like Opendoor and now OfferPad (co-founded by a former top producing realtor!) are being embraced by Wall Street as a way to “drive Americans to move more frequently, resulting in more home sales.” Stimulating interest in real estate. Glory be, sounds like the pre-crash days. Inman’s Teke Wiggans got his hands on an internal report from an investment banking firm called Evercore ISI. The research report, created for investors looking to maximize return for institutional investors, is fairly bullish on what they have dubbed the “iBuyer” platform. 

Such companies, which the report terms “iBuyers,” use new technology to make quick offers on homes and close in days. They could also chip into real estate commissions and help homebuilders move their inventory faster, the authors wrote.

The report underscores growing enthusiasm for iBuyers on Wall Street. Institutional investors are funding iBuyers or setting up their own, and their interest in the business model helps explain why Zillow Group created Zillow Instant Offers, which is essentially a marketplace for iBuyers.

The group is encouraging investors to familiarize themselves with this new business model, saying these iBuyers are likely to garner increased attention over the next few years.

“If successful, these iBuyers could improve liquidity in the housing market by reducing friction costs, and drive increased housing turnover (existing home sales).”

Which, they claim, will lead to real estate economic nirvana for remodeling, moving, etc. Great for everyone, in fact, except the mortgage broker and Realtor. (more…)

opendoor-team-photo-1024x682

The Real Estate business is headed for extreme change in the way we buy, sell and market real estate, and in how we compensate agents.

Last week, we talked about Alex Doubet of Door, a Highland Park and Harvard lad-grad who has started a technology-based flat fee discount brokerage. I applaud and wish him well, and plan to follow him like a hawk. I just found it amusing that the local print media reacted to his story as if he were the very first to ever attempt this! This industry is in more flux than the automobile.

And we have written here about Opendoor. Opendoor is the boldly fascinating Silicon Valley startup heavily funded by some big Bay area checkbooks. The company uses technology to buy and flip homes and streamline the agent’s role. In fact, Opendoor employs salaried listing agents to market its properties, and forks over a 3 percent commission to buyer’s agents who come through the MLS should they bring a buyer. The company has garnered roughly $110 million from investors, including its biggest shareholder, venture capital giant Khosla Ventures. Their ads are all over the Metroplex, aimed at consumers.

Now comes word via TechCrunch that Opendoor is getting even more brazen: it will now offers buyers a buy-back guarantee and a 30 day refund policy.

Yes, you have 30 days to return a house. This is better than Nordstroms:

Starting today, it’s making two more bold promises. First, it will buy back a home if the new owner is unhappy with it. Specifically, if someone changes his or her mind for any reason, that person has 30 days to receive a full refund. More, Opendoor will provide each new buyer with a 180-point inspection report on the condition of their new home; if anything breaks in the first two years, it will fix it.

“We stand behind our homes,” says Eric Wu, CEO and co-founder of Opendoor. “Unlike a typical seller who is trying to hide information from [the seller], we’re fully transparent because we want our customers to be happy.”

(A typical seller trying to hide information from the seller? This sounds like a 2-year Home Warranty policy. Hold that thought.) (more…)